INVESTMENT in processing is not a common thing these days – unless you are looking to a future in the red meat industry.
At Casino’s Northern Co-operative Meat Company last Saturday, the doors were opened to the public – not a usual thing – to reveal how $40m had been spent upgrading cold storage to robotic control, rebuilding the race and knock box along with replacement of steam heat and plate freezers.
NCMC’s Simon Stahl, CEO, told visitors the modernised plant was more suited to the valuable chilled market, with boxed and branded beef handled cleanly by robot with a glue-lid replacing strapping.
Packed boxes go to a European manufactured sorting room – the first in the country operating in a frozen environment – where a computer pick-up tracks that box from memory.
Of course the boning room and packing floor remains staffed by a mass of humanity who break down up to 1000 head a week in busy times.
At the beginning of the process NCMC spent $7.3m replacing the race and knockbox system so animals suffer less bruising and humans work in a safer environment.